Reviewed by Brian Rill
Smacky, an independent band from Cleveland, Ohio, is a rare gem I have known and loved for many years. This month I’m pulling something out of my personal favorites and reviewing a really great band that put out a really great single album. The self-titled 2006 CD, Smacky, is like a cross between classic Rush vocals and Zeppelin guitar riffs. The band is made up primarily of vocalist and bass player Laura Van and vocalist and guitar player Jeff Scarborough. Don Krueger plays drums.
“Revenge, jealousy you’ll be a part of me,” Who’s Crying Now is a song with a slow groove that starts the album off. Smacky’s instrumental hooks and vocal harmonies are top notch and make the songs something to be savored. They paint a portrait of a darker fundamental vision of the world and of interpersonal relationships. Songs like Your Suicide bring the darkness to light with an up tempo meter “I’ll be your suicide; I’ll shut you up; dry your eyes. And when you hate yourself, I’ll help you be somebody else. I’ll be your do or die. I’ll be completely on your side, not like those other guys; they’ll mess you up and screw you.” After every vocal refrain a hot guitar riff spreads over the song like butter.
The CD can be downloaded at www.cdbaby.com. It makes a great car ride or morning run mix. From beginning to end the tempo won’t drop and the grooves just keep coming. After the tenth song, Like Harmony, there is a long space and then a backwards solo vocal harmony that tricks you every time, always startling and taking you by surprise. Sin City explores the underbelly of Vegas. The catchy tune Jeannie takes a look at the role of guns in our culture and the impact they can have in the wrong hands. “Just for fun, took your daddy’s stupid gun. You should of thought of telling me. I can’t believe that your daddy is so stupid he left a loaded magazine. You pulled the trigger Jeannie.”
Brian Rill is a teacher, performer, activist poet and award-winning Latin songwriter voted Salida’s best musician 2009.